When an existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) implementation wasn’t meeting the needs of accounting firm Soberman LLP, Ideaca was chosen as the technology consulting partner that could steer the Microsoft Dynamics AX project back onto the path to success. “The solution wasn’t meeting expectations,” says Ryan Vande Velde, business development manager at Ideaca. Soberman’s growth had been significant, but some of its systems were outdated, while others were “running on an unstable, heavily customized platform,” Vande Velde explains. The situation was becoming more cumbersome with every new customization, which made any change—whether they were aimed to improve efficiency or designed to leverage helpful innovations—very difficult to implement.
The scenario that resulted was one that made it difficult for Soberman to gather important information in a timely manner, conduct in-depth data analyses, or develop meaningful budget forecasts. As Ideaca reviewed the challenges ahead, it knew that formulating just the right course would be critical for success. Instead of making assumptions about the client’s needs or available resources—assumptions that could ultimately exacerbate Soberman’s existing concerns—Ideaca conducted a thorough re-evaluation before presenting its recommendations for proceeding. “We came in and scoped the project from scratch,” Vande Velde explains. This also allowed the company to discuss the client’s expectations early in the process, a step it knew would be crucial to ensuring long-term satisfaction.
Examining the status quo and finding a better way forward is an ability developed and honed through experience, something Ideaca has in spades. “We work with financial-services and other professional-service firms a lot,” Vande Velde says. The team targets the oil-and-gas industry, along with a range of other verticals, giving it a wide perspective when it comes to finding just the right solution. “In addition to ERP, we also have expertise in business intelligence, custom development, customer relationship management, portals and collaboration, and cloud solutions,” Vande Velde says. “We’re full service.”
Ideaca used its experience to identify not only Soberman’s needs, but also the existing resources and issues, such as business processes, organizational schemes, and technology infrastructure, among others, that had the potential to affect the project’s outcome.
Once the Ideaca team had looked at Soberman’s situation with fresh eyes, it was time to outline what should happen next. “We recommended a road map that would get them where they wanted to be,” Vande Velde says. Soberman agreed the plan was solid, and gave Ideaca the go-ahead to proceed. But jumping in with both feet wasn’t the right approach. “We started by limiting the focus to time entry and billing,” Vande Velde explains. These areas were chosen as the launch pad, since Ideaca’s experience told them they would offer Soberman the highest early return on their investment of time, money, and effort.
The Dynamics AX solution implemented by Ideaca allowed Soberman to realize a number of benefits, from the ability to better monitor profitability to improved reporting of revenue and expenses. “Soberman is now able to operate its business more efficiently,” Vande Velde says. “They’re also better prepared for future growth.” In addition, Soberman has derived measurable time-savings from the automation of time entry and related reporting. By following this pattern of putting carefully selected, fully functional solutions in place, Ideaca enables clients to reap greater rewards and better realize their strategic and operational goals.
With an approach that focuses on key business benefits, Ideaca is able to help clients maximize their efficiencies and ensure project success. In the case of Soberman, access to information is faster and profitability is improved. They were also able to turn around a poorly performing technology solution into a critical component of a highly functional infrastructure. “The results were significant enough to restore the client’s faith in the Dynamics AX solution,” Vande Velde says. Ideaca’s expertise was instrumental in putting the project back on track. “We are a Microsoft Canada and a Microsoft USA partner, and we implement a variety of their solutions,” Vande Velde says. It’s the same tremendous knowledge base it offers to every client, on every project.